With under one month to go until the start of fall camp, we're going to count down our 30 most important UCLA players for the 2016 season. These are the players we think are going to have the most significant impact for UCLA this year, so don't take this to mean that these are the players we think are the best long-term prospects, or even necessarily the most talented. Every BRO staffer has ranked his top 30 UCLA players, and from that we've drawn an aggregate list.
Today we'll continue with No. 6.
6. Takkarist McKinley, RS Senior Defensive End
2015 Statistics: 35 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Why He's Important: Takkarist McKinley was, as we said after spring ball, our MVP of spring ball, and we've heard that sentiment echoed from within the program as well. McKinley, seemingly very comfortable in the new 4-3 front, was incredibly disruptive on the edge. As we talked about during spring ball, he was having an impact in the practice the way Anthony Barr used to impact practices -- at least a few times a practice, McKinley would tip balls at the line of scrimmage, which was an indicator that he was getting into the backfield with a good enough head of steam to earn a sack if the practice were live. While we don't want to bring up ghosts of sophomore-year Datone Jones, McKinley was very close to unblockable at times.
And it's not as if this is just based on practice performance. There were plenty of glimpses last year that McKinley had the potential to be that wreaker of havoc off the edge, namely a collection of plays against Oregon State where he seemingly took over the game for a stretch. But he was inconsistent, and didn't seem altogether comfortable in the 3-4 scheme, especially since he was giving up some weight and was rarely out wide enough to take advantage of his speed and quickness. Now, he's bigger, at a good 255 pounds or so, and he's retained that quickness. This spring, it was a sight to behold.
One of the biggest issues last year was a lack of consistent pass rush, and with McKinley looking like a potentially elite disruptor on the edge, we feel pretty confident in saying that the pass rush, even without an overall increase in aggressiveness and blitzing, will be better in 2016. McKinley assuaged many of our concerns this spring, and if he can, in games, be a close approximation of what he was in practice this spring, he could be one of the elite edge rushers in the conference this year.
What's Been Said About Him:
"Takk McKinley, he looks excellent, about 265 pounds. As we all know, Takk can run, he's one of the fastest guys in the conference." -- DL Coach Angus McClure, April 7, 2016
Most Recent Interview:
30 Most Important Bruins for 2016
|Rank||Name||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|6||Takkarist McKinley||5 (Blair Angulo)||10 (John Evergreen)|
|7||Kolton Miller||3 (Dave Woods)||20 (Blair Angulo)|
|8||Soso Jamabo||7 (John Evergreen)||18 (Blair Angulo)|
|9||Fabian Moreau||4 (John Evergreen)||22 (Dave Woods)|
|10||Nate Iese||7 (Blair Angulo)||Unranked (Tracy Pierson)|
|11||Ishmael Adams||8 (Dave Woods)||22 (John Evergreen)|
|12||Eli Ankou||10 (2-way tie)||21 (Dave Woods)|
|13||Isaako Savaiinaea||11 (John Evergreen)||27 (Dave Woods)|
|14||Eldridge Massington||8 (Blair Angulo)||26 (Tracy Pierson)|
|15||J.J. Molson||9 (Blair Angulo)||21 (2-way tie)|
|16||Nate Starks||14 (Dave Woods)||22 (Blair Angulo)|
|17||Jaleel Wadood||6 (John Evergreen)||30 (Tracy Pierson)|
|18||Kenny Young||13 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (Blair Angulo)|
|19||Theo Howard||14 (John Evergreen)||24 (2-way tie)|
|20||Matt Dickerson||15 (John Evergreen)||29 (Tracy Pierson)|
|21||Randall Goforth||12 (John Evergreen)||29 (Blair Angulo)|
|22||Austin Kent||17 (Blair Angulo)||30 (John Evergreen)|
|23||Bolu Olorunfunmi||13 (Dave Woods)||Unranked (Blair Angulo)|
|24||Deon Hollins||15 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (Dave Woods)|
|25||Darren Andrews||12 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (2-way tie)|
|26||Kenny Walker||13 (Blair Angulo)||Unranked (2-way tie)|
|27||Mike Fafaul||11 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (3-way tie)|
|28||Josh Woods||23 (Blair Angulo)||Unranked (2-way tie)|
|29||Keisean Lucier-South||14 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (3-way tie)|
|30||Nate Meadors||20 (John Evergreen)||Unranked (2-way tie)|